SNP loses supporters as new pro-independence party gains ground ahead of May vote

Scotland: 'Independence party attracting SNP voters' says

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Nicola Sturgeon is at risk of losing SNP voters to a new independence party. Julie McAnulty, deputy leader of the Independence for Scotland Party, said the new political party has attracted people who have not been politically engaged since the referendum in 2016.

Speaking to RT, Ms McAnulty said: “We’ve got a wide range of supporters. We’ve also attracted people who haven’t been politically engaged since the independence referendum itself.

“I think they’re a very important demographic because there’s about 500,000 lost yes voters from 2014 who didn’t vote an indy party in 2016 so there’s plenty to play for.”

Asked whether this would split the vote, she continued: “The way that the system works up here in Scotland where we have a constituency vote and a regional vote means that if a party does well in the constituency vote, it does badly in the regional one.

“This has been the problem the SNP have been running into and it’s the problem with having only one party running with independence.

“A party like ours which is simply a list party and isn’t running on the constituency, our votes will all count on the regional system.”

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are “too busy fighting among themselves to fight for the Scottish people”, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will say on Thursday.

Sir Keir will use a speech to formally launch campaigning for key elections across the UK to attack his rivals and insist Labour is “reconnecting” with voters.

The speech comes after Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader, spent a full day being questioned by MSPs over her Government’s botched handling of harassment complaints against Alex Salmond.

SNP dubbed the 'Secretive National Party' by Jackie Baillie

The row that has erupted within the SNP as a result has seen the former First Minister accuse leading figures in the party of being involved in a conspiracy against him – though this has been strenuously denied by his successor.

However, with Scottish Parliament elections taking place on May 6 – the same day as votes for the Welsh Assembly and London Mayor – Sir Keir will insist that Scottish Labour’s “brilliant new leader” Anas Sarwar will “focus on what unites Scotland”.

With the coronavirus pandemic still going on, Sir Keir will say: “After everything we’ve been through in the last year, the last thing we need now is more division.

“Yet, in Scotland, the SNP have shown they’re too busy fighting among themselves to fight for the Scottish people. Their 13 years in power has seen child poverty rise and educational standards fall.

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“Scotland now has the lowest life expectancy in Western Europe and the highest number of drug deaths.”

He will say: “It’s a record of shame and yet the SNP’s only priority is another divisive referendum.”

The speech comes 11 months after he succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, with Sir Keir saying since then Labour has “changed” and is “reconnecting with the British people in every region and nation of the United Kingdom.”

Labour is also “working hard to rebuild trust” he will say, adding: “There’s a long way to go but I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved. Whether that’s rooting out the anti-Semitism that had poisoned this party or rebuilding our relationship with British business.”

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